Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ê-lê-têng-pao
Ê-lê-têng-pao (Eldemboo) 額勒(爾)登保, 1748–1805, Oct. 13, clan name Gûalgiya 瓜爾佳, Duke Wei-yung (威勇公), general, was a native of Kirin City (then known as Ula 烏拉), Kirin. He was conscripted for the army and was sent to Yunnan in 1768 to fight the Burmese. From 1773 to 1776 he fought in Szechwan against the Chin-ch'uan rebels (see under A-kuei), winning the rank of an Imperial Bodyguard and the title of Horonggu Baturu 和隆武巴圖魯. For the next seven years (1776–83) he was in Peking, serving as an Imperial Bodyguard. In 1784 he served under Fu-k'ang-an and Hai-lan-ch'a [qq. v.] in the campaign against the Muslim uprising in Kansu; and three years later, in the expedition to Taiwan (see under Ch'ai Ta-chi). After the campaign in Taiwan was over he was rewarded by having his portrait placed in the Tzŭ-kuang-ko (see under Chao-hui). In 1791 he was sent to Tibet to serve in the campaign against the Gurkas (see under Fu-k'ang-an) and for a time acted as Imperial Agent at Lhasa. In the following year he went with the army into Nepal, and was commander of the rear guard after peace was made. For his exploits in this campaign another portrait of him was placed in the Tzŭ-kuang-ko, and he was appointed deputy lieutenant general of a Banner. In 1795 he was raised to a lieutenant general.
When the Miao tribesmen on the Kweichow-Szechwan-Hunan border rebelled in 1795 Fuk'ang-an specifically asked to have Ê-lê-têng-pao and Tê-lêng-t'ai [q. v.] sent there to assist him in fighting against the rebels. After a year of warfare Fu-k'ang-an and his successor, Ho-lin [q. v.], died in quick succession. Ê-lê-têng-pao contracted malaria and dysentery and was compelled to rest for two months in western Hunan. As soon as he recovered he led his men to the advance on Kweichow. Early in 1797 the rebellion of the Miao tribesmen was crushed, chiefly through the efforts of Ê-lê-têng-pao. He was rewarded with the hereditary rank of a marquis and the designation Wei-yung (see above). By this time he already held the exalted rank of a chamberlain of the Imperial Bodyguard. After the Miao tribesmen were pacified he was immediately transferred to Hupeh, to join the armies that were then fighting against the rebels known as Pai-lien chiao 白蓮教, or White Lotus Sect.
The Pai-lien-chiao was the name of a secret religious society which staged a rebellion against the Mongols as early as the Yüan period (middle of the fourteenth century), and again in the sixteen-twenties of the Ming period. Both revolts took place in Honan and parts of the adjacent provinces. The society was not wholly suppressed but continued as an under-cover religious movement among the farmers of that region. About 1775 the leader of the society. Liu Sung (see under Lê-pao), revived its activities but he was detected and sent into exile. Liu's disciples, particularly Liu Chih-hsieh 劉之協, continued to sell charms and solicit funds among the poor people of Honan, Szechwan, Shensi and Hupeh. Gradually the movement became strong and planned an armed uprising. In 1793 the government ordered the arrest of its leaders, but Liu Chih-hsieh escaped. In the course of their search for him the local officials of Hupeh arrested indiscriminately many innocent people, and some officials sought to enrich themselves by blackmailing well-to-do farmers, thus ruining many of them. Most grievously oppressed were the people of western Hupeh who began armed resistance, late in 1795, with the slogan "officials have forced the people to rebel" (官逼民反). They joined the conspirators of the Pai-lien chiao, and in a few months the rebellion spread to Honan and Szechwan. The city of Hsiang-yang in northwestern Hupeh was the center of the movement and there tens of thousands of armed men concentrated.
Thus began the Rebellion of the White Lotus Sect which lasted more than nine years and covered large parts of such provinces as Hupeh, Honan, Shensi, and Szechwan. During the first four years of the conflict suppression was in the hands of the powerful minister, Ho-shên [q. v.], whose corrupt administration was the prime cause of the outbreak and also of its long continuance. When the revolt began in western Hupeh, Pi Yüan [q. v.], Hui-ling (see under Ch'ang-ling), Yung-pao (see under Lê-pao), and others, were ordered to co-operate in suppressing it, but they were unsuccessful. From July to December 1796 Yung-pao served as commander-in-chief in Hupeh. He reported frequent victories, but as a matter of fact the rebels were not forced to abandon their headquarters at Hsiangyang. Furthermore many new bands arose in eastern Szechwan. The next commander, Hui-ling, who was in control from late in 1796 to the middle of 1797, succeeded in dislodging the rebels from Hupeh, but chased them through Honan and Shensi to Szechwan where the insurgents of both provinces (Szechwan and Hupeh) joined forces and became more powerful than ever. From July 1797 to early in 1798 Governor-general I-mien 宜綿 (original name 尚安, d. 1812), served as commander-in-chief of the government forces in Szechwan and Shensi. In 1798 the command was assumed by Lê-pao and he succeeded in restricting the war to Szechwan. During these years of shifting commands the generals were mostly concerned with satisfying the pecuniary demands of the rapacious minister, Ho-shên, who profited from this state of affairs. Daring to report only victories and no losses of registered soldiers, they engaged farmers to fight for them. To maintain their own forces the rebel leaders likewise made it a practice to impress into their service farmers who could be recruited in ample numbers. Though there was thus a constant show of suppression the rebel forces suffered few casualties and actually increased in number.
During the early period of the war, Ê-lê-têng-pao fought mostly in Hupeh. After he had crushed the Miao in Kweichow (early in 1797) he began to fight the Pai-lien chiao rebels south of I-ch'ang. Early in 1798, for failure to dislodge a band of rebels, he was reduced from a marquis to an earl. Although that band was soon defeated and its leader captured, he was punished for taking so long to accomplish the task, and was deprived even of his earldom. Given the title of deputy lieutenant general, he was sent to Shensi. After three months of fighting in the south of that province he was ordered to lead conscripts from Kirin and Heilungkiang to Ching-chou, Hupeh, which was threatened by one of the main rebel bands. During the remainder of the year 1798 he fought in the mountainous area where the provinces of Hupeh, Shensi and Szechwan meet.
Early in 1799 Emperor Kao-tsung died. The succeeding emperor, Jên-tsung, laid on Ho-shên the blame for the inconclusive war and had that minister cashiered. To press the war with unified command he placed Lê-pao in charge of all the forces of the five provinces: Szechwan, Shensi, Kansu, Hupeh, and Honan—with Ê-lê-têng-pao and Ming-liang [q. v.] as assistant commanders. This marked the turning point of the war. In March and April Ê-lê-têng-pao annihilated three rebel bands and was made a baron. In September he replaced Lê-pao as commander-in-chief of the forces of the five provinces, with Tê-lêng-t'ai as assistant commander. The emperor praised Ê-lê-têng-pao for his bravery, his incorruptibility, and his consideration for the common people—at the same time making light of the criticism that the general could neither read nor write Chinese. The government vigorously pursued a policy of fortifying and arming the affected villages (see under Lê-pao). Volunteer farmers were treated as regular troops and were encouraged with just rewards. The rebel ranks in turn were weakened by making desertion attractive. In these and other ways, not to mention his personal bravery and military skill, Ê-lê-têng-pao finally succeeded in putting down the uprising.
After several months of fighting, Ê-lê-têng-pao was praised by Emperor Jên-tsung for reporting impartially defeats as well as victories, and late in 1799 he was elevated to a chamberlain of the Imperial Bodyguard. His strategy was to confine the rebels in eastern Szechwan by suppressing allied bands in south Shensi and Kansu and by preventing their infiltration to Honan or Hupeh. In May he was raised to a viscount for annihilating a large band of Hupeh bandits in southeastern Shensi. Gradually the rebels were forced to roam in small bands through the forested mountains bordering the provinces of Shensi, Honan, and Hupeh. Early in 1801 he enforced the policy of fortifying the villages, hoping thus to starve the insurgents. For annihilating many rebel bands, he was raised in November 1801 to an earl. However, early in 1802, when one band succeeded in crossing the Han River near Hsi-hsiang, Shensi, he was reprimanded and reduced in rank to a baron. He was ordered to concentrate on the rebels in Shensi while his assistant, Tê-lêng-t'ai, was entrusted with the war in Szechwan. In the middle of 1802 he was again raised to the rank of earl, and late in the same year, to a third class marquis. Early in 1803, after most of the main rebel bands had been put out of action, he was again made Marquis Wei-yung to which were added the rights of perpetual inheritance. By the middle of 1803 the remaining small groups of rebels were also extinguished. In the meantime he supervised reconstruction in the devastated areas, the disbandment of volunteers, and the return of the soldiers from other provinces to their homes. Early in 1804 he went to Peking to return his seal as commander-in-chief of the forces of five provinces. He was received by the emperor with great honors and rich rewards. From March to August he again served in the war area assisting Tê-lêng-t'ai to pacify the remaining bandits. But because of illness he was allowed to return to Peking. In 1805 he was given several concurrent posts and was made a Duke of the third class. He died while the emperor was in Mukden visiting the tombs of his ancestors. On receiving the news, the emperor issued a long decree praising Ê-lê-têng-pao's military record. The deceased general was accorded unusual posthumous honors and was canonized as Chung-i 忠毅. A special temple to his memory, named Pao-chung Tz'ŭ 褒忠祠, was erected to the north of the Forbidden City. His infant son inherited his rank as the second marquis, but he died shortly after. In 1808 a nephew, Ha-lang-a 哈朗阿 (d. 1849, posthumous name 剛恪), became the third marquis. Ha-lang-a served under Ch'ang-ling [q. v.] in the war against the Mohammedans of Turkestan (1825–28) and under I-ching [q. v.] in the war against England in Chekiang (1841–42).
During the Ch'ing dynasty natives of Manchuria were called upon to serve in almost every war. As fighters they were brave and ruthless, and of them Ê-lê-têng-pao and his senior, Hai-lan-ch'a, were outstanding representatives. Ê-lê-têng-pao was of medium height and gentle in his manner. But when he fought he displayed unusual personal courage. The rebels who opposed him he treated harshly, believing that only by strong measures and frequent executions could uprisings be terminated. To his subordinates he was kind, but became unyielding whenever a question of discipline arose. He was a nephew of Fu-tê [q. v.] and from him he probably learned much about military tactics.
The official documents concerning the campaign to suppress the so-called White Lotus Rebellion were edited and printed about 1810 under the title 剿平三省邪匪方略 Chiao-p'ing san-shêng hsieh-fei fang-lüeh in four parts as follows: Introduction (chüan-shou) 9 + 1 chüan; The Main Text (chêng-pien), 352 chüan; Supplement (hsü-pien), 36 chüan; and Appendix (fu-pien), 12 chüan.